Some notes on my experience using Eloqua.
Eloqua is an enterprise-level marketing automation tool. It’s expensive (when compared to similar solutions), because of that very reason: Oracle sells to enterprise customers.
From my more tech-savvy colleagues I hear the back-end is an absolute dream to use. It’s easy to integrate and connect to other enterprise systems. It allows for large volumes to flow through the system with relative ease.
Here are my personal experiences:
Experience using Eloqua: what I liked
Working mostly on the marketing side of things, I can say I really like what they’ve done with their campaign builder. The “free-flow” approach works really well and is easy to use, even for non-techy marketers.
On top of that, you get the Program Builder, which allows you to build system-wide automations. In conjunction with the flexible lead scoring system you can build some pretty powerful marketing pipelines.
As a consultant Eloqua is great, because big companies use it and they pay specialists very well.
Experience using Eloqua: what I didn’t like
The software contains extensive functionality, but it’s not always that user-friendly. Besides a dated-looking interface (writing this halfway through 2018), I found it hard to find information I was looking for on a regular basis. Be it reports, or customer data.
The email and landing page builders I found absolutely terrible to use. The interface is clunky (meaning it takes multiple steps to get something simple done, like bolding a font) and not intuitive at all (meaning things aren’t where you expect them to be, or they don’t behave like you’d want them to).
Experience using Eloqua: what I found absolutely horrifying
There’s no way to set up an RSS-based newsletter, without third-party add-ons. And even when we managed to do that, it was hard to pull off for the folks in charge of that part of marketing (i.e. non-techies).
Eloqua also drops the ball on stuff that’s just handy and smart on a day-to-day basis. It feels like the entire approach to the platform is “enterprise”, which for some reason mean you don’t implement those little improvements that make a marketer’s life easier.
Example: as cool as the campaign builder is, there’s some absolutely essential stuff they’ve left out. You can’t, for example, have it track a specific link (whether it exists on a page or in an email). You can’t base a trigger on a specific page, unless that page is an Eloqua landing page. You can only trigger based on “website visit” which is the entire website you’ve hooked up to the system. Nuts.
There’s more stuff you’d expect a $2000+/month marketing automation tool to do, but it just doesn’t. Compare that to something like ActiveCampaign or Drip at $50/month, well…
Finally, I should note that Oracle support sucks. In the sense that they’re just not there, or not available. Mind-blowing at this price point.
Experience using Eloqua: compared to some other tools
It does more than Pardot.
It certainly does more than HubSpot.
(But it also looks far worse than both of those).
It fits larger teams better than those two.
From what I hear, it’s better suited for larger volumes than Marketo.
And even though I just mentioned ActiveCampaign and Drip, both of those tools are aimed at smaller businesses (I was just trying to make a point about usability).
Experience using Eloqua: should you buy it?
Honestly, if you’re looking at a tool like this, I’d recommend Net-Results instead. Even more flexible segmentation, perfectly suited for larger teams, but absolutely stellar customer support and training.
I first answered this question on Quora: